By Raymond Carl Dela Cruz

Land Transportation Office chief Assistant Secretary Vigor Mendoza II (PNA file photo)

MANILA – The Land Transportation Office (LTO) is cracking down against ‘colorum’ or unregistered public utility vehicles (PUV) by enforcing a “no release” policy for impounded PUVs despite payment of fines.

Fines reach up to PHP200,000 per van and PHP1 million per bus, according to the Special Action and Intelligence Committee for Transportation.

In a statement on Tuesday, LTO chief Assistant Secretary Vigor Mendoza II said apprehended colorum PUVs as a result of law enforcement operations would only be released through a court order.

“Kailangan na nating magpatupad ng mas mabigat na kaparusahan tungkol dito upang maipakita sa mga taong patuloy na nilalabag ang batas na seryoso ang ating pamahalaan upang tapusin ang modus nila (We need to enforce stricter punishments so that habitual offenders will see that the government is serious in its crackdown against their illegal operations),” Mendoza said.

He said colorum vehicles were usually found in remote areas and the provinces.

However, he also noted an increase in colorum vehicles in Metro Manila and nearby areas.

“May mga regulasyon patungkol sa operation ng PUVs. At kasama sa parusa dito ay ang pagpapatupad natin ng (There are regulations in the operation of PUVs. And its punishments include the enforcement of a) no release policy for all vehicles that would be impounded in anti-colorum operations,” he said.

In a memorandum, he ordered all LTO regional directors, district office heads, and chiefs of units to file criminal cases immediately after every successful anti-colorum operation.

“This is the responsibility of the apprehending officers, heads of Law Enforcement Service/Regional Law Enforcement Service, and heads of office. Failure to do so shall be subject to administrative liability,” he said.

The crackdown is in response to complaints from legitimate transport groups that they are losing as much as 30 percent of their daily income to colorum PUVs.

Colorum PUVs are private vehicles but are being used as PUVs for profit.

These colorum PUVs do not comply with the legal requirements of legitimate PUVs such as insurance and other safety requirements. (PNA)